A move to keep unions from charging fees to state employees who don’t want their representation has moved forward in the House, dividing the body mainly along political lines. Unions call them “fair share fees.” Critics claim they are close to extortion. The Missouri House divides mostly along party lines as members debate whether unions should be able to automatically deduct the fees, or union dues, from the paychecks of state workers they represent. Republicans say it’s unfair to force people to pay union dues they don’t wish to pay. Yet Democrats respond that those who enjoy the benefits of the union should be willing to pay the cost. The controversy stems from a 2001 executive order issued by Governor Bob Holden giving employees under his authority collective bargaining rights. So far, about 5,000 of the 20,000 state workers newly represented by unions are paying dues.
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